An Easy Formula for Homemade Flower Food — and 2 More Tips To Keep Bouquets Fresh

updated Jul 9, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Very rarely will we ever tell you to skip the flowers. Not only do they look beautiful and help to punch up a space, they’ve also been scientifically proven to help alleviate daily stress. The key is just helping them to last as long as possible. We have a few tips for that — the first and most important one involves some homemade flower food.

Here are a few tips on keeping your flowers looking fresher longer.

Credit: Lauren Volo

1. Make homemade flower food.

Flowers need food, water, and a clean environment. Food? Yes! Sometimes, you’ll get a little packet, if you’ve ordered your flowers through a mail service, but you can easily make your own.

Here’s a basic home recipe: 1 quart water + 2 tablespoons lemon juice + 1 tablespoon sugar + 1/2 teaspoon bleach. The sugar is the food part and the bleach will help to slow fungi and bacteria growth.

Note: If you want to get all advanced you can adjust the sugar based on the flowers in your vase. Here’s a chart with recommended sugar percentages for different varieties of cut flowers. If you want to keep things simple, go with the formula above.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

2. Trim those stems.

You want to open the stems up to the water, so cut off the dried bottoms at an angle to let them take up as much water as possible. You probably already know to do this when you bring new flowers home, but they can also get gummy as close up while they sit in a vase — so trim the ends every three or four days. Just an inch or so is good!

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3. Remove the lower leaves.

Leaves that are on the stems and below the water level will quickly deteriorate and promote mold. Remove all leaves from the stems below the waterline. Keep this up as you add water and trim the stems.

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